May 2, 2011 at 11:14 am #1273190
I have had enough of not sleeping well. I have tried various pads, most recently a Z-Lite and a custom Kookabay insulated pad. I can never get comfortable on the ground. I am constantly turning from side to side to my back, and I slide all of the place, or fall of the sides and I get all scrunched up in my bag (Montbell #5). I am a side/stomach/back flipper at home, but end up getting into a comfortable position and sleeping well. When camping I wake up every hour or two.
So I am thinking about trying out a hammock. But before I do that, is there some magic advise or piece of gear I am missing out on? I like sleeping in a tent, and I am not sure I want to hang out in the trees.May 2, 2011 at 11:17 am #1732011
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
In preparation for each backpack trip, I sleep on my carpeted floor for a night or two. That way, I get used to firm sleeping near the ground.
–B.G.–May 2, 2011 at 11:23 am #1732014
@carspideyLocale: san fernando valley
i am exactly the same way you are…
and going with what Bob said, you sleep in your bed the whole time and you body is used to the firmness of your mattress…
i believe you would have the same problem if you were to sleep in the sofa for example or a different bed… like a hotel's or something…
for my next trip, i'll probably do what bob suggested and sleep in my pad on the floor for a couple nights before i go out backpacking… this might help…
another thing you could do is take benadryl before going to sleep… i don't do this, but i hear some people do and it helps…May 2, 2011 at 11:34 am #1732017
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Melatonin is a dietary supplement that is supposed to promote sleep. It is not as harsh as real sleeping pills.
–B.G.–May 2, 2011 at 11:43 am #1732020
te – waParticipant
sleeping in a tent – if by that you mean full coverage you can get that with (over) your hammock.
2 main hammock types. 1)with bug net 2)without bug net
with a fully netted/enclosed hammock and a tarp like the one in this photo, might you look at this pic and see that it is much like a sheltered tent, only in 2 pc.
imagine that you are in a bivy, with a tarp over you (most versatile set-up, in terms of ease of use and such) but you are in a bivy off the ground. get an underquilt, a quality hammock, and a large tarp you can do a variety of pitches with.
photo courtesy of mountainfitterMay 2, 2011 at 11:43 am #1732021
Have you tried quilts, Joey, or a wider sleeping pad?May 2, 2011 at 11:47 am #1732022
@sheepngeeseLocale: Ventura County (formerly PNW)
"I am a side/stomach/back flipper at home, but end up getting into a comfortable position and sleeping well"
I am the same way, but I can also sleep comfortably on a couch, ground, train, bus, car, plane, etc. BUT, I think the best sleep I get is in a hammock. Take it FWIW.
The only reason I don't backpack with a hammock is merely because I don't have a UL setup.May 2, 2011 at 11:50 am #1732023
I have not tried a quilt – however I sleep with my bag open quite often because I can't stand being confined in the bag. The montbell is roomy compared to any other bag I have used, but I still like being able to move around without something bunching up underneath me. I am curious about quilts, but I just dropped $200 on the bag last year. I have yet to upgrade my tent situation, and I was moving in the direction of getting a MLD cricket for the summer. Now I am thinking about a Blackbird and tarp setup as well.
Wider sleeping bag might help with turning over and falling off the sides, but I am still worried about the overall feel of the pad. My Kookabay pad is an excellent piece of equipment, but I am not sure it fits me at this point.May 2, 2011 at 11:56 am #1732026
The Kookabay pads are not as comfy as I expected either. I came from a Big Agnes air pad of the exact same dimensions that somehow was significantly more comfortable, supportive, and had more give where it counts. I regret at the very least getting the 2.5" Kooka instead of the 3.5".
It also inflates slightly narrower than claimed, which is an issue because I end up scrunching up my shoulder to keep them on the pad.
So, I wouldn't discount the possibility that a different air pad could help you out. Lots of people get by with way less comfortable pads, but I'm not one of them.May 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm #1732030
Quit wasting your money looking for a magic bullet(that operates on the ground). I had the same battle, hammocks saved me….sorry, you don't want to hear that;->May 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm #1732031
@papasmurfLocale: Dream Hammock
I'm also a side sleeper at home, flopping side to side all night long. Only difference sleeping in a tent was the added sore hips in the morning. Then I tried a hammock one weekend. When I'm out in my hammock, I sleep peacefully through the night. I usually fall asleep and wake up in the exact same position and have even slept with my reading glasses resting on top of my chest from the night before.
Your results may be different, but I'd pursue a UL hammock setup and see if it helps you the way it has helped me.May 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm #1732033
Hammock's are far more comfortable than any sleeping pad I believe. Hips and shoulders are always the pressure points on a pad, but there are no pressure points in a hammock so you don't have the soreness or stiffness. With that being said, hammock sleeping takes a little getting used to since most of us sleep on a flat mattress every night. You will most likely pay a weight penalty for 3 season hammock use too. See if you can borrow someone's hammock for a night before you buy the entire setup to see if it works well for you.
RyanMay 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1732037
I used to be the same way. What worked for me was a good pillow (not a clothes in a stuff sack setup), a Prolite Plus (wide long), and an extra wide bag.May 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm #1732052
A decent pillow, a 25" wide pad, and 2 nights on the floor at home help me. Otherwise the first night I toss and turn till 4AM. The second night I usually pass out from exhaustion and then hit my groove on the 3rd night. I use an Exped pillow and prior to getting it just used the stuffed clothing in a sack method. Combined with sleeping on the floor and getting a pillow, it immediately improved my sleeping.May 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm #1732057
Just like you, I side sleep and toss around a lot. You've already thought of the obvious things…big enough bag and a good pad. Make sure you have a supportive pillow if needed (the Exped one is great). Aside from this I think there is a "learning curve" to it. The first weekend I spend camping I was awake the whole night. Over time I've gotten better. I've camped 35 nights out in the last year. Now when I roll out my Prolite Plus and lay down my Montbell bag and blow up my pillow I start to feel cozy just looking at it. It's home. And I sleep almost as good as home.
Another thing…site your tent to your advantage. Do you prefer having your head or feet higher? Do you prefer having a slight "dish" to the site so you're cradled? Small fluctuations in the flatness of your site can make a huge difference, too.May 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm #1732065
i use a neo air …. feels like sleeping at home for me
i also make sure that im dead exhausted by zzzzz time … makes it MUCH easier to sleepMay 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm #1732076
The ProLite plus sounds promising. Would have to go with a large to get the wide…which is 33oz….ouch. 2x what my Kookabay is…but if I sleep comfortably, then it is worth it.
Might sell my kookabay, try out the prolite…and if that does not work out, sell that and go for a hammock!May 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm #1732085
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'm usually so d@mn tired from driving and hiking the first day that on the first night I sleep like a baby. I guess the first day effort is a "natural" sleeping aid.
From then on my old Thermarest Lite mattress is all I need, even for a geezer like me.
If I use my WM Megalite as a quilt on warm nights I sleep even better.May 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm #1732145
level ground is key for me, and sleeping on stomach. Prefer to sleep on pad and use bag as quilt unless cold enough that need to get in. With the megalite I can roll over and sleep on stomach too pretty easy.May 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm #1732146
is a great sleeping aid. My girlfriend & I always take 'decent' amounts on one or two night trips. Be carefull though, have had a wee bit to much before & then had to do a 1800 ft ascent the next morning….. worst dry mouth I have ever hadMay 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm #1732155
@talbotdaleLocale: Rocky Mountains
To all the great advice, I also wanted to add that I started taking a couple tryptophan supplements before sack time on my hut trips in the winter because 16 snoring guys and sleeping at 11,000 feet typically resulted in insomnia or restless sleep. It worked so well that I now always have a couple capsules in my first aid kit when I'm backpacking. The first night of a trip I always take one and it usually keeps me from waking up. Plus you don't get that drugged feeling that accompanies Tylenol PM.
TalMay 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm #1732240
If you are a side sleeper like I am you need something like the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core. The inflation of it results in about a 2" depth of the pad, and the greater volume of confined air means your hip or shoulder are not crushing the ground as it does when sleeping on a foam pad or a pad with minimal inflation.
If I don't sleep well while camping, it's not a result of discomfort.May 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm #1732252
Melatonin works great for me. It effective enough to help you drop off in a bear trampled campground or when the moon is as bright as a spotlight shining directly in your face and doesn't leave me feeling logy in the morning.May 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm #1732261
The exped mats are pretty tough to beat for comfort I have a synmat 7 on the other hand they are very easy to beat for weight I am trying different pad combos now but it sounds like you need big cushy or the tree tent. I would try the drugs… but not in bear counntryand more so not in habituated bear countryMay 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm #1732267
@davidadairLocale: West Dakota
I am a wus and sleep just fine in the woods. This is how I do it: Take a cushy air mat about 3 inches thick, cut a Ridgerest to 18"x20", stick that beneath the mat under the hip area, lie down on inflated mattress (side sleeper) and bleed air until your hip makes firm contact with the RidgeRest. Your shoulder should still be off the ground.
Note that if your mattress has enough air (and pressure) to hold your rear off the ground it will be too hard at the shoulder and you won't get much support along your spine.
Also, having your hip in contact with the ground mostly eliminates that falling off the mat feeling.
In the winter I use the full 48" Ridgerest to keep my shoulder from getting cold.
Give it a try, if this doesn't help do a couple shots and retry- repeat as necessary.
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